The Saloon

Historic Bar / Live Music Venue
The Saloon The Saloon in San Francisco’s North Beach is the city’s oldest bar, with great nightly blues & zero pretention. Swing through SF with Party Earth. San Francisco United States 37.798569 -122.407125
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The Saloon - Historic Bar | Live Music Venue in San Francisco.
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Ratings:
Lucas
Adriana
Jonah
Emma

Party Earth Review North Beach is notorious for overpriced tourist traps and equally overpriced booby bars, but The Saloon – SF’s oldest bar – falls into neither category, instead serving up budget-friendly booze and... ... read full review

  • Metro:

    MUNI F Line: The Embarcadero & Broadway

  • Phone:

    415-989-7666

  • Hours:

    Daily noon–2am

  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot
    • Night Spot

Party Earth The Saloon Review

The Scene

The Saloon in San Francisco’s North Beach is the city’s oldest bar, with great nightly blues & zero pretention. Swing through SF with Party Earth.

North Beach is notorious for overpriced tourist traps and equally overpriced booby bars, but The Saloon – SF’s oldest bar – falls into neither category, instead serving up budget-friendly booze and live blues every night.

Little has changed since the place opened in 1861, and entering this quintessential dive is like stepping back into the Wild West, complete with old and faded wood paneling, weathered stained glass, and a small dance floor set before a low stage.

The décor is minimal aside from the randomly quirky Christmas tree perched on the back wall, but the daytime crowd of salty boozers and middle-aged bikers sidled up at the beautifully carved bar are more interested in sipping PBR on tap and shooting Jack than interior design anyway.

Nightly live music kicks off at 9pm Mondays through Wednesdays and at 4pm come Thursdays, with different bands playing a range of toe-tapping tunes that help keep the place packed with a diverse and happy crowd that runs the gamut from adventurous tourists to hip college kids to guys who look like they’ve been drinking here since the 1906 earthquake.

The only places to sit are at the bar or along one wall, so when the music’s going, finding a seat is akin to striking gold. But The Saloon isn’t for sitting – it’s a place for kicking up heels, dancing against someone’s shoulders, and drinking whiskey for less than five bucks a shot.

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Tip from Jonah:

Although The Saloon doesn’t really do a Happy Hour, drinks are 75-cents off before the music starts. Show up early for a prime seat, enjoy a few rounds, and then get ready for some great local music.

  • Crowd

    Leather-clad bikers, adventurous tourists, retired regulars, bloated Paul Bunyan lookalikes, blues fans, feisty groups of girls, North Beach barhoppers, 20s to 60s+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    Live blues every night but Mondays, which feature live rockabilly.

    Jukebox stocked with folk, classic rock, country, and, of course, more blues.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    No food.

    One-drink minimum.

    Cash only.

  • Prices

    One-drink minimum $7/F–Sa, depending on the band. Beer $3.50–$4.50, wine $3.50–$4, mixed drinks $3–$6, shots $3.50–$5.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    Tuesdays through Sundays for live blues or Mondays for live rockabilly.

  • Close By

    Frozen in a state of perpetual disorder, Specs’ 12 Adler Museum Café (12 William Saroyan Place) is a chaotically themed little dive where North Beach’s historic Beat vibe lives on.

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